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      High molecular weight dissolved organic matter enrichment selects for methylotrophs in dilution to extinction cultures

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          The role of bacterioplankton in the cycling of marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) is central to the carbon and energy balance in the ocean, yet there are few model organisms available to investigate the genes, metabolic pathways, and biochemical mechanisms involved in the degradation of this globally important carbon pool. To obtain microbial isolates capable of degrading semi-labile DOM for growth, we conducted dilution to extinction cultivation experiments using seawater enriched with high molecular weight (HMW) DOM. In total, 93 isolates were obtained. Amendments using HMW DOM to increase the dissolved organic carbon concentration 4x (280 μ M) or 10x (700 μ M) the ocean surface water concentrations yielded positive growth in 4–6% of replicate dilutions, whereas <1% scored positive for growth in non-DOM-amended controls. The majority (71%) of isolates displayed a distinct increase in cell yields when grown in increasing concentrations of HMW DOM. Whole-genome sequencing was used to screen the culture collection for purity and to determine the phylogenetic identity of the isolates. Eleven percent of the isolates belonged to the gammaproteobacteria including Alteromonadales (the SAR92 clade) and Vibrio. Surprisingly, 85% of isolates belonged to the methylotrophic OM43 clade of betaproteobacteria, bacteria thought to metabolically specialize in degrading C1 compounds. Growth of these isolates on methanol confirmed their methylotrophic phenotype. Our results indicate that dilution to extinction cultivation enriched with natural sources of organic substrates has a potential to reveal the previously unsuspected relationships between naturally occurring organic nutrients and the microorganisms that consume them.

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          Cultivation of the ubiquitous SAR11 marine bacterioplankton clade.

          The alpha-proteobacterial lineage that contains SAR11 and related ribosomal RNA gene clones was among the first groups of organisms to be identified when cultivation-independent approaches based on rRNA gene cloning and sequencing were applied to survey microbial diversity in natural ecosystems. This group accounts for 26% of all ribosomal RNA genes that have been identified in sea water and has been found in nearly every pelagic marine bacterioplankton community studied by these methods. The SAR11 clade represents a pervasive problem in microbiology: despite its ubiquity, it has defied cultivation efforts. Genetic evidence suggests that diverse uncultivated microbial taxa dominate most natural ecosystems, which has prompted widespread efforts to elucidate the geochemical activities of these organisms without the benefit of cultures for study. Here we report the isolation of representatives of the SAR11 clade. Eighteen cultures were initially obtained by means of high-throughput procedures for isolating cell cultures through the dilution of natural microbial communities into very low nutrient media. Eleven of these cultures have been successfully passaged and cryopreserved for future study. The volume of these cells, about 0.01 micro m(3), places them among the smallest free-living cells in culture.
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            Bulk chemical characteristics of dissolved organic matter in the ocean.

            Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is the largest reservoir of reduced carbon in the oceans. The nature of DOM is poorly understood, in part, because it has been difficult to isolate sufficient amounts of representative material for analysis. Tangential-flow ultrafiltration was shown to recover milligram amounts of >1000 daltons of DOM from seawater collected at three depths in the North Pacific Ocean. These isolates represented 22 to 33 percent of the total DOM and included essentially all colloidal material. The elemental, carbohydrate, and carbon-type (by (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance) compositions of the isolates indicated that the relative abundance of polysaccharides was high ( approximately 50 percent) in surface water and decreased to approximately 25 percent in deeper samples. Polysaccharides thus appear to be more abundant and reactive components of seawater DOM than has been recognized.
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              Microbial community transcriptomes reveal microbes and metabolic pathways associated with dissolved organic matter turnover in the sea.

              Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) contains as much carbon as the Earth's atmosphere, and represents a critical component of the global carbon cycle. To better define microbial processes and activities associated with marine DOM cycling, we analyzed genomic and transcriptional responses of microbial communities to high-molecular-weight DOM (HMWDOM) addition. The cell density in the unamended control remained constant, with very few transcript categories exhibiting significant differences over time. In contrast, the DOM-amended microcosm doubled in cell numbers over 27 h, and a variety of HMWDOM-stimulated transcripts from different taxa were observed at all time points measured relative to the control. Transcripts significantly enriched in the HMWDOM treatment included those associated with two-component sensor systems, phosphate and nitrogen assimilation, chemotaxis, and motility. Transcripts from Idiomarina and Alteromonas spp., the most highly represented taxa at the early time points, included those encoding TonB-associated transporters, nitrogen assimilation genes, fatty acid catabolism genes, and TCA cycle enzymes. At the final time point, Methylophaga rRNA and non-rRNA transcripts dominated the HMWDOM-amended microcosm, and included gene transcripts associated with both assimilatory and dissimilatory single-carbon compound utilization. The data indicated specific resource partitioning of DOM by different bacterial species, which results in a temporal succession of taxa, metabolic pathways, and chemical transformations associated with HMWDOM turnover. These findings suggest that coordinated, cooperative activities of a variety of bacterial "specialists" may be critical in the cycling of marine DOM, emphasizing the importance of microbial community dynamics in the global carbon cycle.

                Author and article information

                ISME J
                ISME J
                The ISME Journal
                Nature Publishing Group
                December 2015
                15 May 2015
                1 December 2015
                : 9
                : 12
                : 2725-2739
                [1 ]Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, University of Hawaii , Honolulu, HI, USA
                [2 ]Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, MA, USA
                [3 ]Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution , Woods Hole, MA, USA
                [4 ]Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution , Woods Hole, MA, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, University of Hawaii , Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. E-mail: edelong@ 123456hawaii.edu

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2015 International Society for Microbial Ecology

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

                Original Article

                Microbiology & Virology


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